Grades, drink and diet, there is a connection

A coffee will wake you, but a cup of water will give you the better grades, studies show.

Photo by Ivan Radisic

A student picking up a healthy choice for lunch.

As finals draw near, many students will be tempted to grab a coffee and order quick takeout for a few weeks in a row while devoting themselves to studying and meeting deadlines.

However, some studies and experts would advise against that. If you want better grades, go for clear water and more frequent grocery store visits instead.

“People aren’t eating a traditional diet any more. They lost the balance in their meals,” said Durham campus nutritionist advisor Sylvia Emmorey.

“A lot of student’s schedule time for workouts and going out with friends, but they don’t schedule the time for grocery shopping, which is equally as important.”

She suggests removing convenience foods from your diet. They are high in unhealthy fats, sugar, sodium and chemicals and preservatives, which are counterproductive to good health and brain function, she said.

The study of the connection between what you eat and drink, and your psychology, is in early stages, but hints that Emmorey is correct.

An study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that a balanced diet can significantly lower the risk of depression.

By analyzing 21 previous studies, the reviewers found that those who eat fish, fruit, vegetables and whole grains are less likely to suffer.

A straw poll conducted on 21 Durham students showed similar results. Three people reported a feeling depressed and tired. Two out of the three also reported ‘unsatisfactory’ grades. All three said they have a ‘Unhealthy’ diet.

Most students reported a ‘reasonably healthy’ diet. 13 said they were tired during the day, while 12 were unsatisfied with their grades.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, three students said their diet was ‘very healthy’ or ‘reasonably healthy’ and reported a daily vegetable consumption were neither tired or depressed and were satisfied with their grades.

19 students believed that your mental well-being and food choice are connected.

According to the US National Library of Medicine, to get good grades and feel better about life, you should do the following;

  • Eat carbohydrates, but only the good ones. They release insulin into the bloodstream and improve your mood and provide energy. Carbohydrates found in vegetables, fruits, whole-grains and pasta give moderate but long term effects. Eating a bunch of cake and cookies will give immediate but brief positive effects.
  • Protein, besides helping with gains at the gym, is crucial for your mind. A lack of it can cause low mood, aggression, and lower intelligence. Protein can be found in some of the cheapest and quickest to prepare produce at the market such as eggs, meat and dairy products.
  • Intake Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. There is considerable evidence they help prevent depression, rapid aging of the mind and epilepsy. Omega-3 and 6 is most abundant in mackerel, cod liver oil, salmon and walnuts.

It is not just about what you eat, but also what you drink, and there is one drink that is better than all others.

“A lot of times, people are not hydrated. They are drinking coffee or pop, things that don’t help with learning. But water increases alertness, it wakes you up, it is the number one thing to start with,” Emmorey said.

She observed during her nutritionist counseling that Durham students are often not seeing the benefits of healthy eating, holding the mentality that it needs time they usually can’t spare. However, it does not need to take a lot of your day.

“Dinner does not have to be too extravagent. Scrambled eggs, toast and sliced tomatoes. There are a lot of easy quick things that I find students are not thinking about,” she said.

Eating your greens, fish, meat, eggs and nuts before drowning it in a cup of water will not only give you the body you want, but the grades you need.

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Greetings, dear reader. Whether by design or accident, you have stumbled upon the profile of Ivan Ante Mile Radisic. I have gained my experience as a journalist in the regional newspaper of Sudbury, Northern Life. There, I wrote numerous pieces, ranging from a report concerning a giant pumpkin contest (that sure was exciting) to a opinion piece concerning bees (I am a beekeeper so I suppose that made me the expert). Now, I am honing my skills at Durham College, where I am attending my second year of the journalism program. My dream is to be a war time reporter or a PR writer for some company.